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Lithuanian Parliamentary Mirror. Newsletter. 2012 December No 9(9)


IN THE ISSUE

  • SEIMAS HAS APPROVED PRIME MINISTER ALGIRDAS BUTKEVIČIUS AND THE 16TH GOVERNMENT PROGRAMME
  • THE SEIMAS HAS APPROVED THE NATIONAL BUDGET FOR 2013
  • FORTHCOMING LITHUANIAN PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EU AT THE MEETING BETWEEN THE SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS RESIDING IN LITHUANIA
  • SPEAKERS OF THE LITHUANIAN AND LATVIAN PARLIAMENTS AGREE ON COOPERATION PROSPECTS BETWEEN BOTH STATES
  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION: LITHUANIA IS AMONG 9 EU MEMBER STATES WITH NO RISK TO THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM
  • THE SEIMAS NOW HAS ITS OWN DISTINCTIVE MARK

 

 

 PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS, CURRENT AFFAIRS

 

SEIMAS HAS APPROVED PRIME MINISTER ALGIRDAS BUTKEVIČIUS AND THE 16TH GOVERNMENT PROGRAMME

On 22 November 2012 the Seimas approved Algirdas Butkevičius as Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania with 90 votes in favour, 40 against and 4 abstentions.

 

On 11 December 2012 the appointed Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has presented, to the Seimas, the Programme of the 16th coalition Government outlining its values, the current situation in Lithuania, and the main directions and priorities of the Government for 2012–2016.

 

During the presentation of the Government Programme for 2012–2016, Algirdas Butkevičius underlined that wellbeing of the Lithuanian population constituted the key parameter for measuring the efficiency of the Government. “We have set a strong objective of pursuing a welfare state. Therefore, the Government Programme is explicit, specific and people-oriented.”

 

On 13 December 2012 the Seimas approved the Government Programme (83 – in favour, 39 – against and 9 abstentions) and the Members of the 16th Government took the oath: Algirdas Butkevičius, Prime Minister; Valentinas Mazuronis, Minister of Environment; Jaroslavas Neverovičius, Minister of Energy; Rimantas Šadžius,
Minister of Finance; Juozas Olekas, Minister of National Defence; Šarūnas Birutis, Minister of Culture; Algimanta Pabedinskienė, Minister of Social Security and Labour; Rimantas Sinkevičius, Minister of Transport and Communications; Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis, Minister of Health; Dainius Pavalkis, Minister of Education and Science; Juozas Bernatonis, Minister of Justice; Linas Antanas Linkevičius, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Birutė Vėsaitė, Minister of Economy; Dailis Alfonsas Barakauskas, Minister of the Interior, and Vigilijus Jukna, Minister of Agriculture.

 

 

THE SEIMAS COMPLETED PROCEDURES FOR APPROVAL OF ALL COMMITTEE AND COMMISSION CHAIRPERSONS

 

On 16 November, the 2012–2016 Seimas convened for its first sitting and, as soon as 22 November, it approved Chairmen of the Committees on European and Foreign Affairs. The Committee on European Affairs is chaired by Gediminas Kirkilas and the Committee on Foreign Affairs is led by Benediktas Juodka.

 

On 6 December, the Seimas completed the procedures for approval of committee chairpersons. By 13 December, the Seimas had set up standing commissions and approved their chairpersons.

 

THE SEIMAS HAS APPROVED THE NATIONAL BUDGET FOR 2013

 

On 20 December 2012, the Seimas plenary approved the national budget for 2013 with LTL 25 696 million in revenue and LTL 26 436 million in appropriations for expenditure and property acquisition (the expenditure and revenue amounts include the financial support from the European Union and other foreign funds). The appropriations exceed the revenue by over LTL 740 million.

 

A total of 103 MPs voted in favour of the Law on Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets for 2013, with 2 votes against and 28 abstentions.

 

 

PREPARATION OF THE SEIMAS FOR THE LITHUANIAN PRESIDENCY
OF THE EU COUNCIL
                                                                                                           

 

FORTHCOMING LITHUANIAN PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL OF THE EU AT THE MEETING BETWEEN THE SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS AND THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS RESIDING IN LITHUANIA

 

 

 

 

On 14 December, Mr Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas, invited the diplomatic corps residing in Lithuania to the first meeting. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Speakers Irena Degutienė, Gediminas Kirkilas, and Algirdas Sysas who gave their greetings to the Ambassadors too.

 

In his address to the Ambassadors, the Speaker of the Seimas thanked them for the congratulations to the newly elected Seimas and to him personally. “I am looking forward to and hope that we will continue our nice cooperation in developing mutually beneficial relations among our countries and our parliaments”, Mr Gedvilas said.

 

 

GEDIMINAS KIRKILAS, CHAIRMAN OF THE SEIMAS COMMITTEE ON EUROPEAN AFFAIRS, “IRELAND AND LITHUANIA WILL WORK CLOSELY TOGETHER IN THE TRIO PRESIDENCY”

 

On 19 December 2013, Gediminas Kirkilas, Chairman of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs, met with Philomena Murnaghan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ireland to Lithuania, to discuss issues associated with the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A new Trio Presidency of Ireland, Lithuania and Greece will take over on 1 January 2013. Ireland will hold the Presidency of the Council in the first semester of 2013; it will be replaced by Lithuania in July and Greece will complete the Trio Presidency in the summer of 2014.


During the meeting, the Irish Ambassador and the Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs discussed the EU Presidency priorities of both countries, reaffirmed the need for both countries to closely cooperate throughout the trio presidency period and maintain a close dialogue between the Embassy of Ireland and the Seimas Committee on all relevant issues.


It was agreed that on 16 January 2013 the Ambassador of Ireland would present the priorities and programme of the Irish Presidency to the Seimas Committee on European Affairs.

 

 

  INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

 

 

 

HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND POLITICAL REPRESSION IN BELARUS EXHIBITION AT THE SEIMAS GALLERY

 

On 7 December 2012, an exhibition Human Rights Violations and Political Repression in Belarus was launched at the Gallery of the Seimas to mark the International Human Rights Day. The exhibition was initiated by Petras Auštrevičius, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In his opening address, Petras Auštrevičius said that the situation in Belarus is intolerable, difficult and in some ways deteriorating. “I wish there was no need to organise this exhibition but the reality is different. Our task is to inform people about the human rights situation in Belarus.” The MP called for a minute of silence to honour the victims of the gravest crime of the Belarusian regime, namely, the disappearance of the human rights defenders and opposition members.

 

 

LITHUANIA FAVOURS PARTICIPATION ON EQUAL FOOTING IN THE SINGLE SUPERVISORY MECHANISM

 

Press release, 12 December 2012

 

Lithuania basically approves the establishment of the single supervisory mechanism for the oversight of the EU credit institutions, but the country is in favour of ensuring maximum equal treatment of the eurozone and non-eurozone Member States willing to join the mechanism. Lithuania will adopt a decision on the possible joining to the mechanism later on when a final agreement on principal conditions is concluded. This will be Lithuania’s position concerning the action plan on the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union, adopted at a joint sitting of the Committees on European Affairs and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania on 12 December 2012, to be maintained during the EU Council meeting on 13–14 December 2012.

 

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSION: LITHUANIA IS AMONG 9 EU MEMBER STATES WITH NO RISK

TO THE ECONOMIC SYSTEM

 

Press release, 14 December 2012

 

Lithuania is among 9 European Union (EU) Member States where the European Commission (EC) does not see any risk in the current economic situation. This information is based on the 2013 Annual Growth Survey published by the European Commission on 28 November 2012 and presented by Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-fraud, at a joint meeting of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs and Committee on Foreign Affairs.

 

 

  SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS

 

SPEAKERS OF THE LITHUANIAN AND LATVIAN PARLIAMENTS AGREE ON COOPERATION PROSPECTS BETWEEN BOTH STATES

 

 

 

 

On 11–12 December 2012, Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas, paid his first official visit to Riga at the invitation of Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. During the visit, the Speaker of the Seimas was accompanied by Mārtiņš Virsis, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to the Republic of Lithuania, as well as Ričardas Degutis, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the Republic of Latvia, together with the delegation of the Seimas Members: Benediktas Juodka, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Vincė Vaidevutė Margevičienė, Member of the Seimas.

 

“Latvia is our closest neighbour, we are the two centuries-old Baltic nations, we have to foster our cultural and historical heritage and to establish the Baltic identity, and, being EU and NATO Member States, we have to jointly shape the future of our states and nations,“ the Speaker of the Seimas emphasised. “I believe that parliamentarians from both countries will help to achieve these objectives by developing inter-parliamentary relations, working together in the Baltic Assembly and using other avenues of parliamentary cooperation,” Vydas Gedvilas said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VYDAS GEDVILAS, SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS, MET WITH ZSUZSANNA JAKAB, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, WHO REGIONAL OFFICE FOR EUROPE

 

 

On 28 November 2012, Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas, met with Zsuzsanna Jakab, Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.

 

The Regional Director for Europe commended the improving public health indicators of Lithuania; however, she also took note of low physical activity of Lithuanian population, a rather wide gap between the rich and the poor, and the continuing problem posed by cardiovascular diseases.

 

The new WHO European health policy framework and strategy document called Health 2020 was the main focus of the meeting.

 

Prevention is one of the key elements of the policy framework. Zsuzsanna Jakab is convinced that prevention has regrettably been neglected in Europe for approximately ten years. But now, she believes, we are back to prevention.

 

“The WHO data shows that for every dollar invested in disease prevention, four dollars in health care costs are saved. These figures demonstrate the need for special attention to disease prevention”, Vydas Gedvilas said in response.

 

 

 

SPEAKER OF THE SEIMAS AND EU COMMISSIONER DISCUSS LITHUANIA’S PREPARATION FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE COUNCIL AND EU DEVELOPMENTS

 

During his working visit to Lithuania, EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud Algirdas Šemeta met with Vydas Gedvilas, Speaker of the Seimas, on 14 December. The meeting, which focused on the preparation for Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union and EU developments,  was also attended by Bronius Bradauskas, Chairman of the Seimas Committee on Budget and Finance.

 

The EU Commissioner received both praise and requests from the Speaker of the Seimas. Mr Gedvilas expressed his appreciation of Mr Šemeta’s achievements as the latter was named by International Tax Review as the second most influential person in the world in international taxation. Mr Gedvilas also inquired Mr Šemeta about assistance for specific solutions to some burning issues in Lithuania.

 

The Speaker of the Seimas said that, apart from structural support from cohesion funds and financial assistance for the decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, direct payments to farmers is one of the three questions which are essential to Lithuania in the negotiations on the future EU budget.

 

 

  EVENTS

 

THE SEIMAS NOW HAS ITS OWN DISTINCTIVE MARK. PRESENTATION OF THE LOGO BY ARVYDAS KAŽDAILIS

 

On 10 December 2012, the logo of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, created by heraldic artist Arvydas Každailis, holder of the National Culture and Art Prize, was presented at the Gallery of the Seimas.

he logo was presented by Gediminas Kirkilas, Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Committee on European Affairs. “After 20 years of parliamentary debates on the subject, the Seimas will finally have its own distinctive logotype and become recognisable. This is especially important given that Lithuania will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union next year and the parliamentary dimension will be one of the key aspects of the Presidency,” Kirkilas said.

 

 

 


 Text

Jolanta Anskaitienė, Head of the Public Information and Media Division,

tel: +370 5 239 6508, e-mail: [email protected]

Design

Neringa Motiejūnaitė, tel: +370 5 239 6204, e-mail: [email protected]

Photograph

Olga Posaškova, tel: +370 5 239 6205, e-mail: [email protected]

 

Communications Department

Loreta Raulinaitytė, Director, tel: +370 5 239 6762, e-mail: [email protected]

Public Relations Unit of the Communications Department

Artūras Zeleniakas, Head, tel: +370 5 239 6201; e-mail: [email protected]

 

 

 

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